Writing is hard. Every time I think I have a new idea, I open up my browser and see someone else has already written about it. Sure, they didn’t use my words, but the ideas are similar. Is there really ever anything new to bring to the table?
I finished my writing workshop at the end of February. I met some really talented women and was encouraged by their bravery and honesty in their words. We shared openly and gave feedback kindly. I didn’t really want it to end. Not only did it provide community, but it also forced me to prioritize writing. I was in a great routine for six weeks. Then the workshop ended and I went right back to making excellent excuses as to why I wasn’t writing. I got sick. We were traveling. People were visiting. You know, life.
But let’s go back to that honesty for a moment, shall we? I’m not any busier than I was before the workshop began. And this lifestyle of traveling and visitors and exploring, and probably getting sick, well, that’s not changing either. So I guess I need to just say what it is that’s keeping me from writing.
I don’t feel like I have anything new or unique or interesting to say.
Yes, I enjoy writing for me, but I also really like the community it creates. I like hearing from people that my words resonated with them. I like the feeling of being known. I like the opportunity to get to know others through their words, too.
This tension of wanting to share my stories and feeling like all the stories have been shared already has been sitting with me for the last few months. I’ve been thinking about it as I walk around this city.
And while walking, I got some encouragement in a most unexpected place -- restaurants. Bear with me here.
You could say that opening a new restaurant in this city would be crazy. There are surely already restaurants or bakeries that serve a similar menu or have a similar atmosphere. There are food carts on almost every corner in some neighborhoods. Coffee shops and bakeries pepper every single street – both independent and chains. There are restaurants that charge $300 for dinner and ones in which you can get a meal for $5 including a tip.
Some of these restaurants only have a few rickety chairs on the sidewalk outside their door and people wait in line for hours to eat there, while others have extravagant settings atop white table cloths that probably cost more than our dining room table. There is one street on the lower east side that has ten Indian restaurants alone. Ten. On one street. With menus that are almost identical. And on a Friday night, they’re almost all full.
Each of these restaurants have their faithful followers as well as the occasional tourist and New Yorker exploring a new neighborhood. Some of them have chefs who trained in France for years before coming to New York and some of them are owned by people who just have a passion for the food they serve.
My point is this: writing is like preparing food in a lot of ways. My essays might have a flavor that’s too raw for some but has just the perfect amount of spice for someone else. My writing might be similar to the writing next door, but something about it might make you relate to mine more than the one covering basically the same topic. Or maybe you relate to the other. That’s great. There’s room for all of it.
So, I’m opening up a new restaurant I guess. Or at least I’m sprucing up the one I’ve been working in. I’m not feeling like my original blog fits what I want to say anymore. It started as a home kitchen where friends and family would pull up a seat and hear about our day to day adventures in this city. I still want to include those adventures and hope my friends and family continue to be regular readers. But my heart’s desire is to reach more people, and share more stories that aren’t just about what we’re doing in this city.
I want to write about what God is doing in my heart while living in this city.
I hope you come on in every once in a while. I hope you feel free to stop by once a week or once a year to try something new. I hope you bring a friend along if you read something you think they might enjoy. And I hope a few of you become regulars, where I’ll know your name and feel comfortable sharing with you. I hope you feel free to give me your honest feedback – what resonates with you, what tastes good, what makes you laugh out loud or shed a tear.
I’m certainly not a trained writer. I’m just like the baker who grew up dreaming of opening up a place of my own someday. I hope the reviews would read that the writer makes you feel comfortable and loved, challenges you to think of something from a new perspective, and just might give you a hug on your way out the door. Thanks for stopping by.